Managing and distributing the care risk. Modernising social security 1987-2007 This study of the management and distribution of the care risk was carried out against the backdrop of the debate of the modernisation of social security. The modernisation debate is about the mismatch between the current social security system and the changing social reality. Our research will shed light on one of these social changes, namely the emergence of the adult worker model. The central research question focuses on the implications of this model for the modernisation of the Dutch social security system. The adult worker model refers to a society in which each adult participates in the labour market according to his or her abilities and is economically independent. With the emergence of this model the risk structure is altered by a change in the nature and intensity of certain risks. In this regard, care is explicitly regarded as one of the 'new' risks. Because policy assumes that everyone is expected to engage in paid labour according to his or her ability, the carrying out of care activities at the individual level is given a 'price'. These costs can be expressed in terms of loss of income as well as in terms of consequences for one's career and of human capital. Within the last twenty years attempts have been made to incorporate the care risk into the social security system. Thereby the arguments for collective responsibility have changed. Instead of income policy arguments, efficiency arguments are now brought out. Also the way in which the care risk is incorporated into the social security system has been changed, for example leave arrangements have been introduced and expanded and care components have been developed. Despite the introduction of these measures, there is less evidence of a pronounced vision or a targeted policy. This can probably be attributed to the absence of consensus with regard to the position of care work in society as it relates to paid labour. The consequence of this is that a great deal of shifting takes place in the apportioning of responsibilities. The results of this study are important in terms of policy because they show that the way the system is being adapted to the emergence of the adult worker model is especially inadequate as far as the criteria of 'transition sustainability' and gender equality are concerned, and because the criteria of care solidarity and freedom of choice are only being met to a limited degree. Care is being only moderately supported by the regulations and gender equality is not being promoted. Given these criteria, an improvement in the payment of parental leave should prevail over a lengthening of the duration. From this perspective the introduction of a compulsory social insurance can also be defended. The current policy, in which a high premium is placed on saving by means of the life course scheme as an instrument for supporting the various transitions, offers too little protection for care. Insurance is to be recommended. In that case both care participation and gender equality can be promoted and care is no longer understood as an individual but as a collective responsibility
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